Leading stroke research and care at King’s Health Partners

Find out how King’s Health Partners Neurosciences is leading research, delivering multidisciplinary care and addressing holistic needs to support patients on their journey to recovery.

stroke - neurosciences outcomes bookStroke is the second leading cause of death globally, and the leading cause of disability in the UK. Almost two thirds of stroke survivors in England, Wales and Northern Ireland leave hospital with a disability (Stroke Association, State of the Nation, February 2018). 

At King’s Health Partners Neurosciences, we have an ambitious vision to use our collective clinical, research and educational expertise to deliver world-class patient care and research.

Research and innovation

Our cross-partner research in neurosciences is ranked fourth in the world outside the USA and was second in the UK for research power, as rated by the Research Excellence Framework in 2014. 36% of these publications were ranked in the top 10 citation percentile.

Dr Laszlo Sztriha, Consultant Neurologist and Research and Innovation Lead for Stroke at King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, describes some of the research currently underway to improve outcomes for patients.

King’s College Hospital is one of 12 Hyperacute Stroke Research Centres (HSRC) in the UK, and our clinical staff are actively involved in hyper-acute, acute and sub-acute clinical trials. Our clinical services are linked to our HSRC to ensure that our care is informed by the very latest research.

Changing the way we think about acute stroke care: 

Conventionally, thrombolysis (clot-busting) treatment for Stroke, with intravenous administration of a medication called alteplase, is offered up to 4.5 hours after the onset of symptoms. Another approach to treat acute Stroke patients is the direct removal of the disease-causing blood clot with a catheter technique called thrombectomy, which is conventionally applicable up to 6 hours. 

Recent Stroke trials have found that in selected patients thrombolysis can be effective for up to nine hours, and thrombectomy up to 24 hours.

Although the basic concept of aiming to provide these treatments to stroke patients as soon as possible has not changed, these recent research findings indicate that there could be benefits from administering thrombolysis and thrombectomy beyond 4.5 and 6 hours, and this has substantially changed the way we think about acute Stroke care.

We also work with patients who wake up with Stroke (and therefore there is no definite known time of onset) on research to examine whether a new clot-busting agent called tenecteplase may be beneficial.

Advanced brain scanning techniques:

At King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, we are in the process of implementing advanced brain scanning techniques with AI-basedimage analysis to identify Stroke patients who may benefit from specialist treatment in the case of delayed presentation to hospital.

We are also testing ways to more precisely identify salvageable brain tissue up to 24 hours from Stroke onset with the use of novel MRI techniques.

For more information about research studies that are currently open at King's College Hospital, or to get involved, please contact the Lead Stroke Research Coordinator, Jonnie Aeron-Thomas at kch-tr.kingsresearch AT nhs.net

Our services and care

King’s Health Partners is also home to two of London’s eight Hyper Acute Stroke Units (HASUs), one at King’s College Hospital and one at Princess Royal University Hospital. Both sites also have Stroke Units (SUs), which are part of a network of 20 sites across London offering rehabilitation for stroke patients.

Maria fitzpatrickOur services are highly multidisciplinary and involve doctors, nurses and a wide range of therapists to support patients on their journey to recovery. This includes new treatments, such as Mechanical Thrombectomy, which is offered to patients suffering from an acute ischaemic stroke. This new technique removes blood clots from the artery through a catheter, as explained by Maria Fitzpatrick, Lead Consultant Nurse at King’s College Hospital [pictured right].

In addition to our Stroke Units, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust provides specialist community Stroke rehabilitation services in Lambeth and Southwark for up to 12-weeks, where patients are offered a seamless transfer of care from acute to community settings. With a multidisciplinary team approach to care, rehabilitation support workers provide care seven days a week which includes Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists and Speech and Language Therapists.

Patient experience and expert patients

While patients are on our Stroke Units, they and their family members are offered group psychosocial education sessions run by our neuropsychologists to prepare them for any long-term effects of living with a Stroke. As well as coping with the physical symptoms of a Stroke patients may also experience cognitive, emotional and behavioural issues. These psychosocial sessions are audited to ensure that they meet the needs of patients and their families. An audit of the sessions run in 2017 at King’s College Hospital shows that 90% of attendees found the session very helpful and 10% found it quite helpful. We are always striving to improve care for our patients, and we have three Expert Patients who work very closely with clinical teams.

Your education and training opportunities

Dr Laszlo Sztriha, with clinical colleagues, has been instrumental in the establishment of a three-day Stroke course to train the Stroke practitioners of tomorrow.

Due to the success of the course run in 2018, there are two more scheduled for 18-20 November 2019 and 23-25 March 2020. There are 10 participants per course, and attendees will be taught by stroke consultants and a neuroradiology consultant from King’s College Hospital.

The course is open to Registrars and Consultants and participation is free of charge. If you would like to attend, please contact KingsStrokeCourse AT porterhousemedical.com

King’s Health Partners Neurosciences has an ambitious vision to use our collective clinical, research, and educational expertise to deliver world-class patient care and research.